Young Writers Project: Vivian Ross, Saskia Gori-Montanelli, Siena Stanley & Andrew Knight

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve, and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences, and online. YWP also publishes an annual anthology and The Voice, a digital magazine with YWP’s best writing, images, and features. More information is available at or contact YWP at [email protected] or 802324-9538.
This month, writers responded to the following challenges:
The Community Journalism Project “If…:” In the context of America today in 2020, and your place in the world, begin a poem or story with the words, “If I could…”
The places I cherish
If I could, I would return to all the places
that once brought me the greatest joy.
If only I could go back, I’d see again
the lush, winding Gettysburg fields.
The surreal crags atop Mount Mansfield.
The rolling hills of Valley Forge.
The antiquated yet grandiose rooms of Independence Hall.
The innovative Hannaford Career Center, a place of limitless imagination.
The calm dark streets of Annapolis, ever-cool with sea air.
The forested expanse of Camp Hidden Valley,
   stretching out wide like a pair of welcoming arms.
The old white house my family left behind on Munsill Avenue.
Andrew Knight, 18
Fifteen. Describe yourself in exactly 15 words – no more, no less. A sentence or list.
Impossible tasks
I couldn’t describe anyone in 15 words. Not friends, not strangers… it’s just not enough.
Siena Stanley, 14
General Writing
Especially when they land on you
I like snowflakes.
They look like they should be warm and soft,
and so you touch them and — they’re gone.
You were too warm; they were unprepared.
They weren’t ready for your incredible heat,
for your incredible power.
You touch them and they disappear.
I like snowflakes,
especially when they land
on people’s pom-pom hats
knit by their grandmothers or themselves,
and when they rest on people’s eyelashes and hair.
I like them because they’re temporary, and
you can only stare at them for so long
before they sink into the hair
or the hats or the eyelashes
and you can’t enjoy them anymore.
I like snowflakes,
especially when they land on you —
it gives me an excuse to stare.
Vivian Ross, 14
Almond cake
Maybe I’ll bake again one day —
fold egg whites like blue sheets in July,
feel summer water on my lips
and on down the drain
as if it weren’t an issue anymore.
The rice will always turn to pudding,
and I’ll never be as old as wine.
Saskia Gori-Montanelli, 15

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